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Thursday, 1 October 2009

ACL: Grampus 3-1 Kawasaki Frontale

As reported earlier, Nagoya advanced to the ACL semi-finals with a 3-1 win in the home leg of their quarter-final against Kawasaki. The manager's decision to rest several players in Saturday's win over Kashima was rewarded as the tie was eventually decided by Grampus dominating the closing minutes of the game as several Frontale players visibly tired towards the end of the game. (Updated to include Al Ittihad as the our opponent in the semis.)

The first half was a fairly even affair, with the home team enjoying an earlier period of possession. This was capped by a wonderful strike from Ogawa giving them the lead after 25 minutes. This was shortly followed by a somewhat more fortuitous goal, as Santos' free kick went in after after catching Yoshida in the back as he challenged for the ball. The half ended with the tie evenly balanced, as North Korean striker pounced on neat through ball from Renahtinho to even things up at 2-1.

The second half started in much the same vain as the first, with Grampus working hard to create chances while Frontale looked the more composed and always dangerous on the counterattack. However, the tough schedules both teams have faced over the past couple of weeks began to tell. As the Kawasaki players gradually ran out of gas, Nagoya increasingly took control of the game and started to create more clear-cut chances. Socceroo Kennedy should really have sealed the win earlier than his late tap-in, a powerful header was well saved by Kawashima and the keeper also got a fingertip to another effort, later in the half. The Aussie striker was beginning to look a bit tired himself towards the end, but was still able to challenge for Tanaka's deep cross, which eluded both Kennedy and his defender, but fell to Magnum. The Brazilian's effort was parried by Kawashima but fell to Kennedy, who calmly tapped the ball home to send the home crowd wild. Nagoya go on to meet Al Ittihad in the semi-final later this month.

Nagoya Grampus
Koichi Hirono
Hayuma Tanaka, Maya Yoshida, Takahiro Masukawa, Shohei Abe
Yoshizumi Ogawa, Naoshi Nakamura (Igor Burzanovic 71), Alex Santos (Keiji Yoshimura 71), Magnum
Keiji Tamada (Milos Bajalica 89), Josh Kennedy
Scorers: Ogawa 26, Yoshida 34, Kennedy 86

Kawasaki Frontale
Eiji Kawashima
Tomonobu Yokoyama (Yusuke Tasaka 89), Hiroki Ito, Kosuke Kikuchi
Kazuhiro Murakami, Kengo Nakamura, Hiroyuki Taniguvhi, Yusuke Mori
Juninho, Chong Tese, Renahtinho (Masaru Kurotsu 79)
Scorers: Chong 37

Other Views
ESPN: Stojkovic delighted with Nagoya win
Brisbane Times: Kennedy fires Nagoya in ACL finals
Daily Gomiuri: Grampus get revenge (Optimistically claiming that we are in contention for the league title.)

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